Saga Dawa Festival is one of the most important festivals celebrated by the people of Tibet. It is celebrated in honor of the Buddha's birth, enlightenment, and death. The festival takes place on the 15th day of the fourth lunar month, which usually falls in May or June. The 2023 Saga Dawa Festival is expected to take place from May 28th to June 26th, and it's an excellent opportunity to experience Tibetan culture, tradition, and spiritual practices.
In this complete guide to Saga Dawa Festival 2023, we will cover everything you need to know to make the most of this unique celebration.
What is Saga Dawa Festival?
Saga Dawa Festival is an important event in the Tibetan calendar, and it commemorates the life and teachings of Buddha. It's believed that the festival is the most auspicious day to perform meritorious deeds and gain blessings. On this day, Tibetans engage in various spiritual activities, including visiting monasteries, offering prayers and alms, and performing acts of kindness.
One of the highlights of the festival is the giant Thangka unveiling ceremony that takes place at the Tashilhunpo Monastery in Shigatse. The Thangka is a large religious painting depicting the Buddha and other deities, and it's only unveiled once a year during the Saga Dawa Festival.
Another significant activity is the circumambulation around Mt. Kailash, which is considered a sacred mountain by both Buddhists and Hindus. It's believed that performing this pilgrimage during the festival is highly meritorious and can help one attain enlightenment.
How to prepare for the festival
If you're planning to attend the Saga Dawa Festival, there are a few things you need to prepare for to ensure you have a memorable and comfortable experience.
Firstly, you'll need to obtain the necessary permits to enter Tibet. You can do this through a travel agency or a tour operator, and it's best to start the process early as it can take some time to obtain the permits.
You'll also need to prepare for the high altitude as Tibet is known as the "roof of the world" due to its high elevation. It's recommended to spend a few days in Lhasa to acclimatize before heading to higher elevations.